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Sherwood praises in-form Benteke

Aston Villa F.C. manager Tim Sherwood believes Christian Benteke is, at the moment, the best striker in Europe.

Aston Villa F.C. manager Tim Sherwood believes Christian Benteke is, at the moment, the best striker in Europe.

The Belgium international, 24, is reportedly attracting interest from the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, having bagged 11 goals in his last 10 appearances in all competitions.

“I don’t know if there’s a better striker in Europe right now,” Sherwood said. “He’s the best.

“He’s in great form. We’re creating the chances for him and he’s sticking them away.

“I am delighted for him, it is great to see.”

Meanwhile, Sherwood moved to insist Benteke is go nowhere when the transfer window re-opens in July, despite increasing speculation to the contrary.

Sherwood added: “Benteke is going nowhere in the summer, no one can afford him,” said the manager.

“I’m still learning but there are a few I’ve rubber-stamped and a few I’ve got question marks over. They know that.

“They know they are on trial if they want to stay at this club, every training session and every game.

“They are on trial to get a place in the (FA) Cup final and they will want to stay here, because it is a big club. Some of them will never go to a bigger club than this.

“If they want to stay here they have every chance, but they have to continue to produce the goods. And that applies to everyone.”

Benteke, who joined Villa from K.R.C. Genk for a reported fee of £7 million in the summer of 2012, has tallied 12 goals and four assists in 27 English Premier League matches for the Birmingham-based club in 2014/15.

He is currently valued at around £30 million.

Agent: Bale vindicated by statistics

The agent of Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale, Jonathan Barnett, thinks the player’s struggles are due to his team-mates failure to pass him the the football.

Bale, 25, was rightly criticised for his performance against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, but Barnett has shifted the blame from Bale to his team-mates.

According to UEFA stats, Bale covered more ground, 113 metres per minute, than five of his team-mates, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who covered just 101 metres per minute.

“We’ve been vindicated by these statistics and it’s what we’ve been saying all along,” Barnett said.

“It proves that people don’t know what they’re talking about when they criticise Gareth, they are not looking at it properly.

“Real have to work with Gareth and pass the ball to him more. Give him more of the ball and let him show everybody what he’s good at.

“He’s going to be the best player at Real Madrid when his team-mates work with him and help him. Hopefully Real will come to terms with this.”

Sun 10 May, 2015
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